IVF which is short for In vitro fertilization, has revolutionized fertility treatments and has made many couples that had given up all hope of becoming pregnant, the opportunity to become parents. Children from these procedures were referred to as test tube babies when the procedure first came around, but now with this term becoming a household word, everyone knows someone who has tried it or is about to. The truth is that infertility in India is taking on epic proportions with couples deciding to have children later and later.
In vitro fertilization is a complex process. This begins with the mature eggs of the woman being harvested and combined with male sperm in a laboratory setting; conditions ideal for fertilization are provided in the hope that one or more eggs will become embryos. The embryos are then delivered directly to the uterus avoiding any chances of an ectopic pregnancy. One or more of the embryos implant on the uterine lining resulting in a pregnancy.
Are you a good candidate for IVF
With the high success rate of the IVF procedure, most infertile couples consider it when all else fails. However, it can be fairly expensive, especially if it takes more than one cycle for pregnancy to occur. For this reason, it is in important to evaluate a couple for how effective IVF will be for them. IVF may be an option for you if you or your spouse has been diagnosed with any of the these conditions
- Low sperm count
- Low sperm motility
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- Any unexplained fertility problem
If you have been deemed a good candidate for IVF by your doctor, there are some things that you should know before you make this decision
- What the pregnancy rate for your age group and specific fertility problem is
- What the success rate is for that facility
- What the average pregnancy ratio per transferred embryo is
- How much the procedure will cost
What does IVF involve
The first step in this procedure is making the woman produce multiple eggs in one cycle that can be harvested. This involves hormone injections that begin at the start of the menstrual cycle all the way up to ovulation. The eggs will then be retrieved surgically right before they are released by the ovarian follicles. You will be given special instructions on what you can and cannot do before the procedure. This retrieval process will take less than an hour and is mostly done under mild sedation. The eggs are immediately mixed with the sperm and monitored to ensure fertilization and growth.
Once the physician has determined that the embryos are ready for transfer to the uterus, one or more of the embryos will be delivered to the uterus using a catheter. To make sure that at least one embryo implants and results in a pregnancy, physicians prefer to deliver at least two embryos in one cycle. A pregnancy test two weeks after the procedure will determine if the procedure worked. The entire process can take up to 35 days.
Success rates with IVF depend on many factors such as the couple’s age, the reason for the infertility and the overall health of the sperm and eggs. On average there is a 30% success rate with each cycle of IVF. Considering that these couples have likely struggled with infertility for years, these numbers on encouraging. In fact, the success rate seems to be increasing across the board in every age group with newer refinements to the procedure every day.